For Mary Beth, losing her hair during chemo became a gateway for personal growth, thanks to Sybille Paulsen, an artist who uses hair to create "soulful" objects.
What she made for Mary Beth transformed her hair into something that "somehow seemed to still hold pieces of me within it. The waves of the hair ... still looked so alive and so full of life. ...I love the idea of helping create beauty out of what for many of us is a ugly process: chemotherapy."
Although her medium, human hair, is perhaps unusual, the issues Paulsen ponders are universal. "The themes of change and transformation run like a golden thread through our life," she explains about her pieces which are all made by hand, requiring days and sometimes weeks to become beautiful, tactile objects. "Some we welcome with open arms, while others we begrudgingly accept with a heavy heart." Like chemo. "The artefacts that I create of the hair, mark this transformation and disclose a new access for the people involved to the commonly overwhelming situation," she continues. "The change becomes visible, not only as the lost hair but further as its transformation into something valuable. Something abstract and difficult to comprehend becomes discernible, becomes tangible. The loss creates something new and the helplessness is juxtaposed against a tangible artefact. This object can be the introduction to an exchange of difficult feelings that are otherwise hard to communicate."
As part of her Tangible Truths project centered around the diverse experiences which are "collected" during chemo, Paulsen also creates wristbands and necklaces for friends and family as a way to remember both how interconnected we are and yet unique, each with our own story to tell.
- Lesley Scott
NOTE: Honoring the past to help us pave the way forward fashionwise is a signature of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts & podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.